Should Sabarimala Shrine Allow Young Women? India's Top Judges To Decide

Sabarimala Temple

The Supreme Court today referred the matter pertaining to the ban on the entry of women into Kerala's famous Sabrimala temple to a five-judge constitution bench.

In February, the apex court had reserved its order on referring the case to a constitution bench, Deccan Chronicle reported. The petition was filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association, challenging the custom of the temple to bar entry of women in the 10-50 age bracket (of menstruating age).

This assumes significance as after coming to power, the CPM-led Left Front government has favoured the entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala temple - a position that is divergent from the one earlier taken by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government.

In January 2016, the court had questioned the ban, saying this could not be done under the Constitution.

The bench comprised of Dipak Misra, R Banumathi, and Ashok Bhushan had earlier requested to submit the things that need to be presented at the Constitutional Bench. If so, should their privilege to manage their religious affairs yield to the fundamental right of women to practice religion freely.

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The Kerala Government has already informed the court that it favours the entry of women of any age into Sabarimala temple. You can not refuse entry to a woman who comes there ... A 1991 Kerala High Court judgment supports the restriction imposed on women devotees.

Another women rights activist, Saswati Ghosh also pinned her faith on the apex court's decision. It had asked the parties to file written submissions that would fall under the Constitution. We understand the seriousness of issue.

Advocate K K Venugopal, representing Travancore Devaswom Board said that the alleged discrimination was not between men and women but between women and women.

A hope for a positive and landmark judgment in the matter was expressed by women right activist on Friday.

Whether the practice of regulating entry of women is an essential religious practice under Article 25? "I am sure the judgement will also be very positive and landmark".

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